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Netstal-Maschinen AG of Näfels, Switzerland, has added two-component capability to its PET preform systems.

Netstal will be marketing and supporting the systems, while O. Hofstetter AG of Uzma, Switzerland, will provide the tooling.

Netstal's production-grade, two-component injection molding machines will feature 48-cavity molds and will be capable of producing PET preforms with inner layers of nylon, ethylene vinyl alcohol or other materials.

Preforms are used to make injection stretch blow molded containers, predominantly for the beverage industry.

Netstal already produces machines for PET preforms and two-component presses for other types of resins and applications. The new products will combine Netstal's two-component and PET experience for the first time.

In designing the new system, Netstal modified the injection units of its existing Synergy-2C line to accommodate preform molds, according to John Scarpucci, PET systems manager at the company's Fitchburg, Mass., office.

The system also will feature closed-looped-control systems for both injection materials to ensure processing parameter deviations are kept to a minimum, Scarpucci said.

Another selling point for the Netstal machines is a highly automated handling system that allows for faster production speeds, he said.

Market needs are driving the creation of the new system.

``In the preform business, there is a larger demand for barrier layers in preforms to reduce the gas permeability of the products,'' Scarpucci said.

Hofstetter, a die maker that has been developing and selling co-injection molds since 1986, recently installed a Netstal eight-cavity demonstration machine at its development center in Switzerland.

Full, production-grade machines will be available for installation by the first quarter of 1998, Scarpucci said.

Netstal recently appointed Scarpucci to his position at the company to support the new products and to increase Netstal's position for PET preform markets in North America. The company also appointed Michael Klanke PET systems manager for South America.